Former suspect in Etan Patz case to be freed

October 29, 2012 • National News

FILE- In this May 28, 2010 file photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, inmate Jose A. Ramos is shown. Ramos, a convicted child molester who was found civilly liable in the death of Etan Patz, is due to be released from prison in Pennsylvania in early November. Now that Pedro Hernandez has confessed to the killing in 1979, will Ramos actually go free? (AP Photo/Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — While prosecutors weigh what to do about a suspect who surprisingly surfaced this spring in the landmark 1979 disappearance case of Etan Patz, the man who was the prime suspect for years is about to go free after more than two decades in prison for molesting other children.

These two threads in the tangled story are set to cross next month, a twist that evokes decades of uncertainties and loose ends in the search for what happened to the sandy-haired 6-year-old last seen walking to his Manhattan school bus stop.

The new suspect, Pedro Hernandez, has been charged with Etan’s murder after police said he emerged as a suspect and confessed this spring. But there’s no public indication that authorities have found anything beyond his admission to implicate him, and his lawyer has said Hernandez is mentally ill.

The Pennsylvania inmate, Jose Ramos, was declared responsible for Etan’s death in a civil court, but the Manhattan district attorney’s office has said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him criminally. Login to read more

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